On October 13, the Dutch (outgoing) Minister of Social Affairs and Employment published and opened for public consultation the Bill on amending reintegration obligations in the second year of illness for employees of small and medium-sized employers (the Bill). The Bill aims to alleviate reintegration obligations for small and medium-sized employers. In this context, it is proposed that small and medium-sized employers focus solely on second-track reintegration from the start of the second year of illness if the conditions for closing the first track are met. Alongside the new reintegration obligations, a new ground for dismissal, the so-called “j-ground”, is introduced as part of the aforementioned Bill. This ground comes into play when the first track trajectory is closed, but the employee’s own position is no longer available because it has been filled by someone else.
On November 24, the public consultation on the Bill was closed. A total of 42 public responses were submitted during the consultation. Overall, it can be concluded that the Bill is being critically assessed. It imposes significant and complex administrative burdens on employers, is expected to increase the workload for the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV), where backlogs are already substantial, and shortens the most successful form of reintegration, namely first track, for sick employees. Whether the current Bill will be submitted unchanged is therefore highly questionable. We will, of course, keep you informed of further developments.